children, face, finger, foot print, Health Care, India

Biometrics for newborns in hospital maternity units?

Maha govt asks hospitals to ensure biometric ID of infants (IBN Live)

In order to prevent thefts of babies from hospitals, the Maharashtra government has asked state-run medical centres to ensure biometric identification of infants within two hours of birth.

As far as I know, it’s easier to apply biometric identity management techniques to the adults who have a right remove a baby from a hospital than it is to biometrically account for the identity of each infant. Face recognition doesn’t work very well on infants and newborns aren’t going to be able to help with the more participatory biometric modalities like iris and finger even if the algorithms are applicable to infant morphology (and I’m not sure that they are).

Footprints have been collected from newborns for a long time, but even though human experts can match properly executed paper and ink footprints, I’m not aware of any matching algorithms for the foot to automate that process.

So that leaves biometrics for the adults that are allowed in the maternity ward including parents/soon-to-be parents and a special category for individuals that are allowed to remove a newborn from hospital property: new parents exclusively.

Granted, that won’t prevent baby mix-ups, but it can go a long way to making baby theft much more difficult.

In a more passive approach, SecurLinx has experience providing facial recognition capabilities to monitor a watch list of individuals restrained from approaching a maternity wing.

If anyone out there has any information on biometric algorithms intended for use on newborns, please send it along.

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